NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A vigil was held Thursday to remember a family of six who died in a fire in Harlem.
Crowds of people gathered at P.S. 194, where some of the children who perished attended school, CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas reported.
A makeshift memorial lined the fence of the school. Balloons, pictures and candles paid tribute to 45-year-old Andrea Pollidore, her 32-year-old stepson and four children ranging in age from 3 to 11.
A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for their funerals. To contribute, click here.
The family of six died when fire consumed their fifth-floor apartment early Monday morning. Treasure Bell, a classmate of at least one of the children, stopped by the memorial.
“My friends told me, and we were in morning circle and they said that your friend died,” said Bell, who added when asked how it made him feel, “Sad.”
The news was still hard for Treasure’s mother to process, yet alone break down to a fourth grader.
“I just hope they’re at peace, because they were young. They didn’t even get to see life,” the mother said.
By the time firefighters arrived at the Frederick Samuel Houses on Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard flames were already shooting out of the window. Authorities believe it all started when something was accidentally left on the stove.
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The fire trapped the family inside. All six members were found dead in the back bedrooms.
“I really just can’t believe this happened,” family member Raven Reyes said.
Reyes is one of the older daughters and in an instant lost most of her family.
“I just want them to know I love them so much,” Reyes said.
The New York City Housing Authority said the building had smoke detectors that were last inspected in January, but the FDNY said the detectors were not found.
FDNY Investigating If Smoke Detectors Worked In NYCHA Apartment Where Family Died In Blaze:
Meanwhile, the community continues to come together and pray following a devastating loss that for many is still hard to understand.
“May their spirit be in good rest. May they be at peace,” one person said.
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“Preliminarily, we believe the fire was an accident and that it started in the kitchen, on the stove, quickly extended out of the kitchen, and eventually involved every room in this apartment, including the two rooms where the victims were found,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.